Chase Marinell tied his lowest 18-hole career round, carding a five-under par 67 to lead the field after the first day of the 2012 Big South Men's Golf Championship.
Three Flames found red figures on Monday, including two playing bogey-free golf, allowing No. 1 seed Liberty to take a five-stroke lead after Day One of the 2012 Big South Men's Golf Championship.
Liberty carded an eight-under par 280 at The Patriot Golf Club, the team's second lowest 18-hole total in Big South Championship history.
The Flames stand five shots clear of No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina and No. 4 seed Charleston Southern, who both finished the first day with a three-under par 285 on the par-72, 7,120-yard trek.
Sophomore Chase Marinell leads the 40-man field after last year's Big South Freshman of the Year tied his career-low 18-hole score with a five-under par 67.
Two-time Big South Golfer of the Year Robert Karlsson shares second place with three other golfers with a three-under par 69, while Mathieu Fenasse is tied for eighth place with a one-under par 71.
Liberty's final two golfers in the three-day event are Ian McConnell, who is tied for 18th place after a one-over 73 and Niklas Lindstrom, who shares 28th place with a three-over par 75.
Marinell looked sharp all day, carding one of two blemish-free rounds of golf for the Flames. The sophomore first dropped into red figures on the course's top ranked hole, the par-4, No. 3 hole, after sinking a bending 10 foot birdie putt from behind the hole.
The sophomore missed his first of three fairways on his first par-5, the 560-yard No. 5, but it helped him shave off distance, reach the green in two and drop a second birdie in three holes.
The Fort Myers, Fla., native played steady golf during the next seven holes, stringing together seven pars in a row. The only real danger he found was missing his first two greens of the day, No. 10 and 11, but he was able to get up and down to save par on both holes.
Marinell finally broke his string on the par-5, No. 13 hole. He was 50 yards out on the 580-yard hole and left his approach nine feet below the hole, which he sank to drop to three-under par on the day.
The sophomore only stayed at that score for three shots, as he nearly holed out on the par-4, No. 14, leaving a two inch putt to drop to four-under with four holes left to play.
Following a solid up-and-down save on the par-3, No. 17 hole, Marinell reached the closing hole, the 554-yard, par-5, in two shots. After lagging a cross-green putt within two feet, Marinell sank his last shot to card a five-under par 67.
The 67 matched his second-round score at the ODU-Outerbanks Collegiate Golf Tournament in the fall and marked the sixth sub-70 round of his career. On the day, Marinell hit 11-of-14 fairways and 15-of-18 greens in regulations and had 30 total putts.
Karlsson is two shots behind Marinell after carding his fifth sub-par round in the last six rounds of golf at this championship event.
After a double-bogey five on the par-3, No. 4 hole, Karlsson quickly rebounded to birdie three of his next four holes. He dropped a shot on the par-4, No. 10, but posted birdies on the two closing par-5s to round out his three-under par 69.
Fenasse matched Marinell's accuracy on the day, as the freshman hit 15-of-18 greens throughout his first time circling the Davis Love, III, designed golf course. He posted 17 consecutive pars before birdieing No. 18 to close out his fourth career sub-par round.
Birdies on No. 5 and 6 allowed McConnell to get to two-under par, but an errant tee shot on the short par-3, No. 7 hole left the sophomore in the front bunker where he dropped his first of five shots on the day. He was able to post one of four Liberty birdies on No. 18 to lower his score to a one-over par 73.
Lindstrom was two-under par early as well, after consecutive birdies on No. 4 and 5. Following a dropped shot on No. 7, Lindstrom took a quadruple-bogey eight on the par-4, No. 11 hole to fall to three-over par. The sophomore dropped two more on No. 16 and 17 before carding the lone eagle on the home hole to get back to a three-over 75.
Due to the threat of inclement weather tomorrow, tee times for round two of the 2012 Big South Men's Golf Championship have been moved up to earlier tomorrow morning.
The three under-par teams (Liberty, Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina) will be sent off the No. 1 tee starting at 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Live scoring will once again be provided by Golfstat, while LibertyFlames.com will be providing hole-by-hole coverage of one of its five golfers throughout the round via its @LibertyFlames Twitter page.